Wednesday, January 25, 2017 - Updated: 9:04 AMWhen Massac County’s commissioners opened bids in November for the project of tuckpointing on the courthouse, there were only two bids with a wide range in cost and numerous question about the project that is why on Thursday morning the county board met with Eric Weflan and Kevin Meyers with RQAW Engineering Firm to go over the information the county advertised and to take a look at the building to see exactly what needs to be done.
One bid was from Fager McGee in Murphysboro for $277,290. The second bid, from Evans Mason Inc., of Springfield for $537,068.
Commissioner Jeff Weber said there were a lot of questions about exactly how much tuckpointing needs to be done. He said some contractors didn’t understand the bid.
Weflan said the county needs to either bid the project and quantify exactly how many square feet or linear feet needs to be fixed, or bid it as unit cost. He said the main thing is for the county to bid the project so that it would be an “apples to apples” bidding process.
Weflan said in the pre-bid meetings he has been a part of, he takes questions only during those meetings to address issues the bid might not have covered. After that, an addendum or several addendums may be issued.
Childers told Weflan one of the problems has been the commissioners have not been able to tell if the water is coming in through the bricks, the roof, or if it is both.
The commissioners have discussed having a pre bid meeting when going to bid again. Weflan advised the commissioners they should concentrate on the “building envelope,” to get it as air and water tight as possible. That envelope he said includes not only the roof and tuckpointing, but the windows and the lentils at the top of the windows. Otherwise, he said if the county tried to do the items one at a time, “You could be chasing this thing around,” he said, pointing out if they only did tuckpointing or just replaced the roof, they could still have water issues.
“You want to get as much done at once as you can,” said Weflan.
“Is there a budget for the work?” Weflan asked, which the commissioners said there is not, but rather they are trying to find out a cost.
Following the discussion, the commissioners, Weflan and Meyers headed to the large courtroom to survey the damage to the windows and walls. The commissioners and Weflan climbed a ladder behind the large courtroom that leads to the roof.
After looking at the roof above the courtroom, they went to the area of the old jailhouse at the very top of the courthouse, where they again walked out on that elevation of the roof. Next, they went to the location of the former probation office and then to the office space where the state’s attorney and his staff had occupied.
In a crawl space area in the probation office Weflan visually confirmed water coming straight down from the middle of the roof membrane. “It’s the roof,” he said, also noting the wall area appeared to be dry.
After touring the second floor and the roof, the board, Weflan and Meyers went outside to look at each wall to pinpoint areas that need to be addressed. At this point Weflan said if RQAW were handling the project, he would take photos of each side of the building and highlight the areas that need repaired.
RQAW’s cost to handle such a project would be six to 10 percent of the construction value. Weflan also noted having the firm handle the project would help ensure someone is advocating on the county’s behalf to make certain the job is done properly.
“A lot of people think that we should know about all of this stuff,” said Farmer.
After the walk around outside, the county commissioners, Weflan and Meyers returned to the commissioners’ room where Farmer asked about a timeline and also asked the other commissioners if having RQAW handle the project is something the county should pursue.
“I think so,” said Weber.
“I do too,” said Childers.
Although the commissioners were in agreement that it should use RQAW to handle the project, the board said the county does not have the money.
In addition to repairing the building envelope, the county at some point will have to address abating the mold and asbestos issues in various locations at the courthouse before the court system can to move back the courthouse.
Weflan will put together a letter outlining all the details he and the board have discussed as well as a proposal. He indicated information could be sent to the board as early as next week. At that point, he told the board if both parties are in agreement with what is proposed, RQAW would then send a contract for the county’s legal counsel to review.
Weflan estimated getting the documents together would likely take around 30 to 45 days.